Government has been urged to tighten measures that will end Zambia’s continued loss of money through illicit trade in timber products.
Civic Participation and Advocacy Programme Officer, under CSPR, Civil Society for Poverty Reduction, Maxson Nkhoma, says that some multinational companies are taking advantage of the loopholes in the laws to rip the country of huge sums of money.
He explains that the 3.5 million US dollars that Zambia lost over the past two years through the illegal trade of Mukula tree and other high value trees, as shown in the declared losses by government, could have been used to fund poverty reducing projects
Mr. Nkhoma says that countries such as Angola, Namibia, Malawi, Mozambique and Zambia, continue to lose millions of dollars through tax avoidance due to lack of enhanced taxation measures.
He also noted that forestry departments in countries like Zambia, lack adequate capacity to monitor international prices of timber species.
Mr. Nkhoma says that if well regulated and properly managed, timber trade can help in job creation through processing and maximize government’s revenue collection.
Provincial Forestry Officer, Sylvester Siyame acknowledged that shortage of staff is pausing a serious challenge to end illegal trade of Mkula tree.